The methodological challenge of cross-national research : comparing cultural policy in Britain and Italy

Belfiore, Eleonora (2004)
Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick
This paper explores methodological issues that need to be considered when embarking in cross-national cultural policy research. The first part offers a discussion of the limitations of much of the currently available comparative research in the field, and particularly work that relies heavily on comparison of cultural statistics. By drawing on an extensive discussion of the case study of Britain and Italy, the second part of the paper attempts to put forward a number of suggestions with a view to developing a more appropriate and more holistic comparative research methodology for the field of cultural policy studies. To this end, inspiration is drawn from the\ud contribution of a number of disciplines in the field of social sciences – as well as public policy studies - where comparative research, and related problems of methodology, have long been discussed and theorized. In particular, the concept of contextualization will be shown to be extremely useful when comparing notions of culture and policies across nations.

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